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Thread: Wipe or Blow

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Wipe or Blow

    I'm getting geared up to shoot a BPCR match and am quite new to black powder although I've loaded smokeless for over forty years. Should I blow or use a wiping rod? How do I use a wiping rod? How much should I compress my powder?

  2. #2
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    You have opened two different cans of worms. Sorry, can't give you a better answer.

    When shooting at the bench, my choice is to wipe. I have never shot a BPCR match.

    As far as compression, powder size and type will require different amounts. See what your rifle likes using the powder you have. Start with just about no compression and then go up from there. The only way to increase compression and keep the same bullet seating depth is to increase the powder charge. Use 1 or 2 grain increments.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    I've been shooting BPCR matches for 26 years. I generally use a blow tube but I have used wiping and should have used wiping a few times when I didn't. Heat, humidity and the number of shots fired for score make a big difference. With moderate temps here in the east with our humidity and a 10 shot match blow tubing generally works. If shooting in the hot sun in low humidity with a 15 shot for score match wiping would be the best choice.

    There are many ways to do either. With blow tubing the number of breaths should vary with the conditions. If some shots go off call you probably need more breaths. Be sure to stay hydrated. In a silhouette match where time is limited most shooters only wipe once between shots with a wet patch or a bore pig. In a target match where you have more time most shooters wipe more than once. Paper patch shooters must make sure the bore is clean between each shot and are the most meticulous.

    Your rifle will tell you how much compression is best and only by shooting it. Generally Swiss powder likes less compression, somewhere in the neighborhood of .050". Goex many times shoots best with heavy compression even up to about .300". Start with little compression and work up until your groups tighten. You may find fouling decreases with more compression as the powder burns hotter and more completely.

    Best of luck to you. Where do you plan to shoot, Friendship or Ashland or elsewhere? Maybe I'll meet you along the way.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    As far as wiping or blow tubing,it depends on the temperature of the barrel.If the barrel gets so hot that you can't keep the fouling soft by blow tubing you'll have to wipe.Relative humidity,air temps and whether or not the barrel is in full sun or shade all contribute to the problem.

  5. #5
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    First, good on you for getting in there and shooting a BPCR match!

    As is usual in such things, there are zealous advocates for either approach, but 25ring boils it down to basic rather well. I wipe, but not to a shiny barrel. A little bit of moist sludge in the barrel is a good thing, in my opinion.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I blow tube and in dry weather have a bottle of water on the line with me. I take a swallow of water every 2-3 shots. This keeps me hydrated and my vison better along with keeping the moisture up in my breaths while blow tubing. A lot depends on loads, temps, humidity and rate of fire. Best is to experiment with both and see what works for you and your rifle best. SOmetimes there is a big difference.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    i do both and my nose appreciates the extra effort.

    try both, see what floats yer boat best for the gun, and you, and the climate yer shooting in. i used to blow when i loaded greasers but these dayze wiping is not only better, it's pretty much mandatory for paper patched bullet cartridges.

    for wiping, it's just about pushing a wet or damp patch down and out the muzzle, followed by a dry patch down and out the muzzle. i do believe that wiping is more consistent than blowing, that's my personal take. you really need to spend a bit of range time to suss this fouling control thing out and get into a shooting rhythm of sorts before going to a match. for your first match, it's not about winning or even competing, it'll be about knowing what you need to do so that yer not fumbling around at the shooting line, but rather spending time learning the ropes of the game.

    as far as compression is concerned - again, you need to put in some time to see what cartridge load will work best for your gun. this is all part of the bpcr game. it is what it is, and that's a good thing indeed.

    bottom line is, welcome to the bpcr game, and do have fun! Name:  thumbsup.gif
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I will be shooting at Friendship. You have all been helpful. I know things must be tried and I don't plan to shoot for a couple of months(too hot). I'm just looking for a place to start and will be shooting with an old pro but can't bug him all of the time so thought I would bug you guys some. Thanks for the help. I have a long row to hoe and a short time to do it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    I have a couple friends that have been twisting my arm that shoot at Friendship to join them. Now that my Daughter relocated around the Louisville area makes the friendship match a better probability
    Wiping or blowing, both can be effective and also have a downside if not done properly. Range time will get this sorted out for you.
    As far as compression, load two or three rounds starting with slight compression starting with about .050" and increase the amount by one grain for two or three rounds of the same weight. Five or six one grain increase of the two or three rounds will usually show you what will work well with a little more work. I call this working up a ladder load and usually 21 rounds fired you will see a load that has tightened up.
    Swiss powder or the Olde Eynsford you will usually see between .120" to .250" compression that will be workable then work on the primers and wad stack that will tighten the group more.

    All this is good range time to learn your rifle.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by WALLNUTT View Post
    I will be shooting at Friendship. You have all been helpful. I know things must be tried and I don't plan to shoot for a couple of months(too hot). I'm just looking for a place to start and will be shooting with an old pro but can't bug him all of the time so thought I would bug you guys some. Thanks for the help. I have a long row to hoe and a short time to do it.
    honestly, if you don't sort out yer load, gun, fouling and shooting processes before doing so at a match, yer not only wasting your time but the time of others. just get out and get some shooting done, even at a short range of 50 to 100 yards, so you can at least work on a fouling control process. you can arm chair all this stuff just so much to get yer thinking ducks in a row, but hoeing that row means getting to the range and doing rather than thinking.

    you didn't mention the cartridge. i'll assume some .45 flavor for now. load up some standard LRP primed brass with black powder (1f, 1-1/2f, or 2f) and a single .025 to .060 card or veggie wad, and just light .030 to .060 compression and shoot them up. go to the hardware store and get a foot or so of 7/16" neoprene tubing and use it as a blow tube. take yer jagged cleaning rod with ya, a bottle of water, and a gaggle of patches to try wiping for fouling control, too. one range trip will teach you more than all the posts in this thread, for sure.

    talk is cheap, doing is the proof of the pudding. i'm 72yo and will be shooting this afternoon in 90f+ bright sunshine because i need marks with a new sharps for a get-together shoot on friday. you do what you gotta do to make things work at least reasonably well. get out and shoot.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WALLNUTT View Post
    I will be shooting at Friendship. You have all been helpful. I know things must be tried and I don't plan to shoot for a couple of months(too hot). I'm just looking for a place to start and will be shooting with an old pro but can't bug him all of the time so thought I would bug you guys some. Thanks for the help. I have a long row to hoe and a short time to do it.
    Work up your best loads at home, and what you think is going to be your favored fouling control method. Then head to a match, you'll learn more shooting in a match about how your stuff is working, than you can figure out at home in a year.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don McDowell View Post
    ... you'll learn more shooting in a match about how your stuff is working, than you can figure out at home in a year.
    no truer words typed, as long as the shooter does his before-match homework.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Another thing I recommend highly is attend a match or 2 as a spectator, not a competitor. This gets you used to range commands and whats expected. Also gives you a good idea of what goes on and hw its accomplished. Last is it puts you a little more at ease with the first match and being there

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I didn't think everything would get worked out on this forum. I have planned to do all the range time I can before I waste anyone's time at a match. might not get it all worked out this year. As I stated, I'm not new to shooting just the use of black powder so was looking for a few friendly pointers and have received some. A 40-65 is the cartridge I will be using. Thank you all.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    You won't be wasting anybodies time at a match, but you will be on a good track to learning. Shooting under match conditions is a whole different world than shooting at home.
    GUSA #6
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I've shot other matches in the past so I agree it's a lot different than testing and such. I asked about wiping because I have seen old SS with wiping rods under the barrel but I assume may take too long under match conditions. I will be a spectator before shooting a match. I have a friend to help me who has been shooting BPCR for at least a couple of decades but it doesn't hurt to get other opinions. Thanks

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Wiping is just as fast as blow tubing, maybe faster if you have your stuff laid out in an orderly fashion, and leaves a much more uniform bore condition than blow tubing no matter what the ambient temperature and humidity. Blowtubing if done properly works very well it takes some effort.
    GUSA #6
    People will forget what you said...
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    But People will NEVER forget how you made them feel

    Want to join in adult conversation about shooting the old ways without the hysterics associated with other places?http://historicshooting.com/mybb/index.php

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I see many new shooters that think they have to get all ten shots for score and rush . Learn to do it correct if you only get 7 or 8 shots and speed will come later. go ahead and shoot a match and see what you need to do to get better organized.
    I wipe with a delrin rod and a short pistol brush on it. A quick spin of the rod flips the damp patch off the brush.
    Get your mat and cross sticks set so you are comfortable .

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    i prefer wiping as well. blow tubing hopefully keeps the bp residue soft, whilst wiping removes it for the very most part and therefore is more consistent so that the shooting environment hot/cold/dry/wet climate becomes almost a non-issue.

    yes, you will be wasting time, creating concerns and losing out on the fun aspect for yerself and yer fellow competitors if yer fumbling on the shooting line with cartridge build issues, sight setting problems, fouling control gremlins, and all the fun stuff in between. i've seen that happen many times over, have seen competitors drop out of the match as a result, and it can all easily be avoided. bpcr/tr is not the same as a high power event. it's one thing to say yer gonna try wiping for fouling control and another to actually do it, have yer rod handy and keeping it clean, be able to grab those wet and dry patches at the line and in a wind, where and how to prop the gun and use the rod, etc. attending a match type you've never shot at before as a spectator is a good learning experience, too, but if you've put in yer range time, have a good shoot process down that's reasonably accurate, and you understand the rules and flow of the match, just shoot the match. it's all about knowledge and process. this should all be a very interesting, satisfying, and fun thing - do enjoy!
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  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Should I blow or use a wiping rod?
    * Rule of Thumb: Relative Humidity less than 40% - high temperature - high (FFFg) grain & poor quality of powder - Wipe. Conversely, blow tube a minimum of 10 times
    How do I use a wiping rod?
    * From the breech to the muzzle
    How much should I compress my powder?
    * the Black Powder Cartridge News -2009 Fall - "Some Black Powder Compression Data" article by Bob Woodfill:
    Caliber - 45-70
    Lyman 457124
    Constant volume of FFg powder used
    Compression tested: 0" - 1/8" - 1/4" - 3/8" and 1/2"
    Best 3 Shot Groups 100yds ... 5 shot groups were tested also, with the same compression values except for Goex (1/4") and Schuetzen (1/2")
    Goex - 0.62" with 1/8" compression
    Goex Express - 0.26" with 1/4" compression
    Schuetzen - 0.61" with 1/4" compression
    Swiss - 0.56" with 1/2" compression
    KIK - 0.65" with 0" compression
    Regards
    John

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check